FlexiSpot Standing Desks, Converters, and More
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One of the Great Trojan Horse Office Ergonomics Brands From China
While more than 95% of standing desks and other ergonomics products sold to North American consumers are made in China, most are marketed by American-owned companies—such as UpLift Desk, Fully and Vari—that simply source their products from Chinese factories. A handful of the largest major brands, however, are actually Chinese-owned companies that picked American-sounding brand names, opened offices in the USA, hired American marketing teams to build their websites, and threw huge dollars at capturing market share here. These include brands like Flexispot, Autonomous and Eureka.
Flexispot is one of the biggest in this group, if not THE biggest one today. The Livermore, California-based Flexispot was spun out of Loctek, a Chinese OEM manufacturer of standing desk converters, ergonomic accessories, bike desks and other related products, as its own brand only a few years ago by its somewhat eccentric founder/chairman Lane Shaw. Like Autonomous, it had very heavy financing and took a “scorched earth” view of market domination. The difference between the two is that Flexispot/Loctek designs and manufactures its own products and has complete control over both design and quality. It has thus been able to crank out a far more diverse offering of its own products, with an exceptional array of standing desk variations.
Initially marketing its deeply-discounted products primarily through Amazon, in late 2021 Flexispot started directing its advertising to its own website instead, pumping unprecedented advertising dollars into the venture. It began taking direct aim at the three market leaders in commodity-grade, Chinese-made standing desks: Fully, Uplift and Autonomous. It has in very short order eclipsed Vari and matched the traffic volume, and thereby likely revenues of, Fully and Uplift—while coming up fast on Autonomous’ gigantic lead. But its trajectory is unmistakable.
To be sure, this sort of turf war between the four big commodity brands in standing desks is not for the weak of heart. While a “race to the bottom” competition can be good for keeping consumer prices low (though this is hard to see right now given the pandemic-induced inflation in all of their prices lately) it has made it difficult for a lot of smaller standing desk makers to survive, and that’s never good for a healthy ecosystem (too many have been hitting the dead pool list lately).
Just how aggressive is Flexispot willing to get in this battle? Well, its current website (as of February 2022) is almost an exact photocopy of Fully.com‘s website, with every standing desk photo taken from precisely the same angle, with the same rugs and the same plants at exactly the same spot on the desk; same fonts, same color schemes, etc. It’s one of the most remarkable, if not outlandishly bold attempts at customer deception we’ve ever seen take place in this industry. Or in any industry, for that matter.
It remains to be seen whether Fully, which is now owned by multi-billion dollar furniture conglomerate Miller Knoll, will take legal action against Flexispot, but they may have just pulled off the perfect intellectual property crime. Interestingly some of their new product names are also lifted from Uplift Desk. And they raised their prices to match all three of their primary competitors.
We’ve reviewed a lot of Loctek and Flexispot products over the years, many of which are listed below. None of them have ever been what we’d consider to be state-of-the-art; they are typically pretty low-end in terms of features and quality, but they’re also typically a pretty good value for budget standing desk buyers. Like all Chinese-made standing desks, they’re in a significantly lower tier of quality and innovation as compared to American-made, but at a commensurately lower price. Albeit that price difference has gotten much smaller since the passage of stiff tariffs and the realities of the pandemic economy and drastically higher deep ocean freight costs, so they’re not quite the bargain they used to be anymore compared to premium American brands like iMovR.
We expect to see Flexispot continue to rush a lot of new products to market in the coming years and continue gunning for market domination in the commodity-grade end of the business. They have the strategic intent, the financial wherewithal and the manufacturing and fulfillment capacity to do so. It’s only a question of just how much of a fight their three biggest competitors will be willing and able to put up.
Check out our full collection of office fitness equipment brand roundups.
FlexiSpot Standing Desk Reviews
The FlexiSpot Theodore is very specifically designed for the person who wants a drawer in their standing desk, and doesn’t intend to install any ergonomic accessories like a keyboard tray or monitor arm. It’s minimalist in performance specs, easy to assemble, and if it matches your traditional office decor, it may be one of the best values out there.
Another entrant in the category of standing desks with drawers, the FlexiSpot Esben distinguishes itself from the similarly priced and similarly featured FlexiSpot Theodore with an extra drawer and more utilitarian looks.
This desk is made for a laptop user who doesn’t have specific ergonomic needs like a keyboard tray or monitor arm. Options and weight capacity are minimal, and it, unfortunately, comes with a crossbar running between the legs right where your feet want to be. It’s a good value for those who don’t mind the drawbacks because of its price, easy assembly and built-in drawer and USB ports.
While the FlexiSpot E8 has warts (stability and low-quality desktops), it’s a good entry point for users who don’t care about those downsides.
If you want to spend less than a grand on an adjustable-height L-desk then the Flexispot E4L is definitely worthy of your consideration. You’d just need to be OK with the significant effort required for installation, and with the very limited choice in configurations. The FlexiSpot L-Shaped standing desk starts at $959.99, comes in one size, has a weight capacity of 330 pounds and features a bamboo top. But that’s it for choices. Other height adjustable L-desks come in thousands of configurations, assembly with a fraction of the effort and use far nicer components and more recent technology – but cost substantially more.
The FlexiSpot E9 standing desk is another cheap option in the FlexiSpot lineup. It’s a single-motor, single-stage standing desk with no frills. The standout feature for the E9 is assembly.
The FlexiSpot E5 is cheap for a dual-motor, dual-stage desk, but it’s held back by poor stability and desktop quality.
Starting at just over $200, the E1 is an entry into the bottom-tier of the market for standing desks. The specs are generally unimpressive, as you would expect for this price, but there are many different desktop options.
FlexiSpot uses the very use cheapest actuator mechanisms and a single-drive motor to make the Vici a bottom-dollar offering, and they only use only a single-stage base that won’t go low enough for very short people or high enough for very tall people. The Vici’s warranty is not great either (5 years for the frame, motor and other mechanisms, 2 years for the electronics, and zero on the desktop), which tells you about how much confidence they have in their own product. As for the promise of being “quick assembled” that is perhaps the most specious claim of all of FlexiSpot’s hyperbolic marketing copy (they literally put this in the product name).
Check out our full roundup of electric standing desks
FlexiSpot Standing Desk Converter Reviews
The FlexiSpot enters the standing desk converter fray competitively priced and poised to help disrupt the Varidesk’s lengthy reign.
There seem to be two versions of the F3 Series at the moment. The earlier version (the one we originally reviewed only forensically) seems to have many more issues than this unit we tested in house. For the price of a very low-budget/quality converter, this Flexispot gives you the space-conscious standing experience that’s also pleasant to look at.
Flexispot’s budget line of standing desk converters, the AlcoveRiser M7 series, feature lowered keyboard trays and a space-saving X-Lift design. This corner version has three more inches of work surface depth and is shaped to fit snugly in corner spaces.
Check out our full round up of standing desk converters
FlexiSpot Standing Mat Reviews
The Flexispot Ergonomic Office and Kitchen Not-Flat Anti-Fatigue Mat has the best quality to price ratio in the non-flat mat category. Boasting thick construction, generous dimensions, and decent buoyancy, it’s one of the higher quality non-flat mats we’ve tested. It’s a solid anti-fatigue solution that will probably last for years.
Check out our full roundup of standing mats
FlexiSpot Bike Desk Reviews
While the Flexispot Deskcise Pro doesn’t solve any of the core problems that these multi-purpose products tend to have, it’s a step in the right direction with sit, stand, and cycle capability in the same portable workstation. Smooth, quiet pedals feel great to use, and they feature eight levels of adjustable resistance.
Check out our full roundup of bike desks